Hertfordshire opposes Luton Airport expansion

Luton Rising, the owner of London Luton Airport, has for a number of years been progressing its ambition to grow the airport from a currently consented 19 million passengers per year to 32 million.

In February 2023 it submitted its application to Government for permission to do so. The application will be determined by Government, rather than locally. This is because it is of such a scale to be classed as a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project, for which Government is responsible for making decisions.

Over the six-month period August 2023 to February 2024, the application has been examined by an Examining Authority consisting of a panel of five members appointed by Government. Much of that examination has taken place in writing, supplemented by oral hearings at which interested parties could make their views on the application known.

Dacorum, Hertfordshire and North Hertfordshire councils have particular responsibilities to participate in the examination proceedings because part of the application lies within their areas. They have committed substantial resources to engage with the process to oppose the expansion and explain to the Examining Authority the reasons why it is unacceptable. They also want to ensure Hertfordshire communities and environment get the best possible protection, and that funding is secured to improve infrastructure and bus services, should the expansion be permitted.

Councillor Sheron Wilkie of Dacorum Borough Council said: “With extensive technical and legal support Dacorum, Hertfordshire and North Hertfordshire councils have been working incredibly hard over the past six months to explain to the Examining Authority the unacceptable impacts this proposal would have on Hertfordshire communities, on its environment and on its roads. We entered the process in total opposition and as the Examination closes, that opposition remains untempered.”

Councillor Ruth Brown of North Hertfordshire Council said: "This proposal is simply unacceptable. The extensive negative impacts on communities, landscapes, cultural heritage, and our transport infrastructure cannot be ignored. Rejecting this application is imperative, particularly in the current climate emergency. Expanding a short-haul airport is simply inappropriate."

Councillor Stephen Boulton, Executive Member for Sustainable Economic Growth at Hertfordshire County Council, said: “I would like to take this opportunity to thank Hertfordshire residents for their efforts in making their views known to the Examining Authority – both in writing and orally at hearings. I would also like to thank those acting as representatives on behalf of Hertfordshire action/community groups who have so resolutely stood up to this application.

"The Examining Authority can be in no doubt as to how Hertfordshire residents feel about this application. That view is shared by Dacorum, Hertfordshire and North Hertfordshire councils.”

The Examining Authority must present its findings, conclusions, and recommendation to the Secretary of State for Transport by Friday 10 May 2024. Following this, the Secretary of State should make a decision within three months.